May 23 2015

yin/yang

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in the style

of me

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May 21 2015

could-have-beens and
second-guesses
and the questions filling my days

“You can’t ‘just’ be a poet—which when rent is due is absolutely true—therefore we get pretend titles like Ambassador and Legislator and Seer. The upside is that we are free (or, downside, forced) to find or invent roles for ourselves (and our poems) that engage differently with the material demands of our culture.”~Mark Bibbins

I came across this quote yesterday, after a conversation the evening before with my husband about the paths we take and why we take them, and whether or not we regret them, or at the very least, wish we’d done things differently.

This is something I’ve thought about a lot recently, as I find myself aging, as I lose friends and loved ones, as I traverse the territory of middle-age that stands between now and crone. And I find myself, quite often, wishing I had done just that. Except then I realize that I did do everything differently, without thought, without choice even, because my path was never the one paved with asphalt and fancy construction, my path was always just a break in the trees somewhere in the woods, and I was always the barefoot girl staring wide-eyed at the moon.

So, okay, no regrets, but there are still things that haunt me. And the older I get, the more security becomes one of them, the more struggling looks less romantic and simply hard. The more I wonder if I should have put some high heels on all those years ago and walked down a different road, wearing a suit that might confine, but would also protect. I was a straight-A student my whole life. I could have done anything. (At least that’s what the little voice whispers.)

But the voice that always answers back, the one that’s stronger and sing-song and slightly rose-colored, tells a different story. That I could only ever have done exactly what I did. I could only ever be who I am. And that is my solace.

Will it be enough to see me through?

Only time will tell, and besides, the sun is shining down on these roses about to bloom and a few years back, this whole bush was crushed to the ground. I see no regret in these buds that turn themselves boldly towards the sun, and the thorns and the scars are all hidden just now, in the darkest shadows of growth.

I’ll sit here and watch them open and listen to the birds and inhale all the yesterdays that brought me to this moment.

And all I’ll breathe out is today.

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May 19 2015

in the shade in the shape
of a shadow

i stood in the sun for three days once
singular and proud of my peacock pretty ordinance
and refused to marry the sky

growth was always my pattern
and bending
my habit

coy and shy
cut and displayed
thirsty and forgotten

i was always
about color

and you
stole my green
stripped my purple
and stomped my chartreuse back
into black and white
grey-lipped
soil

until i became
an abstract painting of perhaps

washed proud and stood clean
in the summer
of the river
of change

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May 14 2015

floating in the sound
of cynosure

I placed this Solomon’s Seal in an entirely different spot in my garden, years ago. For most of those years, it struggled, sending up two or three shoots and then quickly fading as spring turned to summer.

Now, here it is, moving itself around the landscape, seeking the perfect light-shade-soil combination on its own. An independent learner, self-motivated, a survivor. One that apparently loves long, hard, extremely cold winters.

As my garden ages, it makes its own plans, completely ignoring the best-laid of mine and filling in the blanks as it so chooses. I’ve become less keeper than companion, and most of the time, I resist the urge to fight for control. I let the wanderers wander. It’s better that way, for both of us.

It took me fifty-two years to begin to understand. And I still slip, there are still times when I make every attempt to wrestle my way to the top. Sometimes, I even manage to win. But mostly, I just get tired of the struggle. And giving in has its own rewards, too.

Another lesson learned in the classroom of garden.

I sit here with my tea. I pay attention.

I watch and I listen and I sit.

And the world washes over me.

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May 12 2015

folding into grace
unfolding into growth

mirror-made and tender-footed

all this opening

takes the courage

of forgetting

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May 9 2015

bask

It feels like summer already, high heat, lazy naps (for him, at least), flip flops and outdoor fires, all beneath the only ceiling that doesn’t close me in.

Gypsy days and windows-open nights.

The perfect lullabye of peepers and crickets.

Sun on my skin.

Last night I sat outside until midnight. It was 88° when I walked inside.

This morning, everything is green.

Game on.

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May 7 2015

the letting go of hanging on

because shedding your skin
is just as necessary
as gathering hips
for the tea
you sip
from the cup
of yesterday’s
parody

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May 5 2015

morning tea

My back door opens onto a little sort-of-sunken alcove (which is a bad thing when it rains a lot) and in spring it’s my favorite place to sit with my first cup of tea and watch the golden light wake up the flowers. This is my view this morning, daffodils and euphorbia and sunshine bright enough to be blinding. The birds are singing out in a concert of joy, and it’s hard to believe that just over a month ago, this very spot I’m looking at was buried beneath a five-foot mound of snow.

These are the days when it’s hardest to stay inside and work, my garden teasing me with new green, fresh promise, and the relief of sun on my skin. But there is work to be done, and that is life. Naughty kitten keeps coming to my window, asking me to come out and play, and I laugh and tell him no, even as I wish I could be him.

Already, I feel behind in my garden. Mother Nature always runs faster than I can and there is never a day when I don’t see ten things that need to be done. But no matter. The windows are open, the robins are busy, and the daffodils nod hello each time I walk by.

Good morning, I say. To all of it. The distractions and the worries and the work and all the broken bits of life that need fixing.

Good morning, here we are again.

It’s a beautiful thing.

 

 


May 2 2015

in the kitchen of my shadow

The crows and I have tea every morning, rain or shine, smile or sadness, awake or still mired in dreams. I am drawn to the world outside my tiny window, a world of birds painted bright on a backdrop of trees. The shape-shift of shadows as we pass through the seasons offers up a daily dose of impermanent art in one corner, the place where no one ever sits.

Soon, I will be out of doors as much as I am in, and these walls will talk to each other. I wonder, often, what they say behind my back. Sometimes I catch a whisper when I walk around the corner, or crash through the door with my arms full of groceries, and hush! becomes an echo of everything I’ve missed.

A house is always telling stories, but you never know which are fact and which are fiction, so you label them all tall tales and let them bob around up high, near the ceiling, and watch the spiders eat them for breakfast.

Late at night, sometimes, those same stories will drip down the walls like tears, and I’ll remember a day long past. I’ve lived in this house almost 30 years, more than half my life. There are words shoved deep into every crack and crevice, and all the dust is made of promises. It’s a tiny house, and someday I think it will burst with the memory of all the lives that have marched on through, in life and in books and in my imagination.

I never thought I’d spend all these years in one place. Never thought I’d still be staring out these same windows with the eyes of an almost-old woman.

We’ve grown up together, this house and these birds and this creaky laughing body of mine.

Beneath this sky that holds the sun that draws these ever-changing shadows.

It’s my job to sit here, to watch and to listen.

The crows and I have tea every morning.

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Apr 30 2015

bury the fear
at the top of the hill

and let the rain wash down
to the valley of drown

in an avalanche of
forgiveness

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A poem a day for 30 days, in honor of National Poetry Month. Day 30
I’m participating in NaPoWriMo, and Writer’s Digest Poem a Day Challenge.
Whew. I did it. Thanks so much to all of you who followed along.
It means a great deal to me.
Today is also Poem in your Pocket Day (more about that here).

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